Veneto, the eighth largest of Italy’s 20 administrative regions, is located in the northeast of the country and stretches from the Dolomite Mountains to the Adriatic Sea.
Venice is the regional capital and probably the most famous and most visited city of Veneto. This captivating Italian city enchants visitors with its romantic canals, historic Venetian architecture, timeless art, labyrinthine alleys, and vibrant culture. It’s a unique blend of beauty and rich history, which makes it a perfect destination for millions of visitors every year.
However, Veneto is a large region with a great variety of landscapes and many gorgeous cities and towns with their own unique attractions, often neglected by visitors in favor of the undeniable charms of Venice, Italy.
It’s also a fertile region with the large river Po flowing through it and emptying into the Adriatic. Wine lovers will be tempted to sample the great wines of the Veneto region, especially those wanting to follow what is known as “The Ring Of Prosecco.” A special treat for opera and culture fans is to attend the outdoor summer opera season at the Roman Theatre in Verona.
Depending on interest and season, you can swim in one of the seaside resorts on the Adriatic, ski in the Dolomites, sail on Lake Garda, pamper yourself in the thermal baths of Abano, or simply admire the medieval wonders of Serravalle and taste one of the best prosciuttos in Italy, Veneto Berico-Euganeo from the Vicenza region.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Here we will show you the finer details of Veneto so that you don’t miss out when you next head to Venice.
10 Idyllic Italian Cities Near Venice You Must Visit
After Venice, Verona is the second largest city in Veneto, a true medieval treasure. Located 75 miles west of Venice, it’s perfectly suited for a day trip, as there is a motorway (A4/E70) and several trains per day connecting both in between 1 and 2 hours.
Built around a U-bend in the river Adige with a huge medieval bridge crossing it, the most famous landmark is the Roman Amphitheatre. Built in 30 AD and perfectly preserved, it originally held 30,000 spectators. Nowadays, the arena hosts sumptuous theatre and opera productions, one of which you should try to see. Here is the program for this year as well as day trips for you to choose from.
Apart from the medieval town center, Castle Vecchio, and many piazzas like Piazza delle Erbe, there is another highlight for culture fans in Verona. William Shakespeare and his play Romeo and Juliet are closely connected to Verona. Make your way to Via Capello and look at the tiny balcony of the 14th-century residence where the drama unfolded.
Padua, located 25 miles west of Venice, is another beautiful city suitable for a day trip. The city sits on the banks of the river Bacchiglione, which is crossed by many elegant bridges. Padua is a historic center and appears twice in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, once because it features the world’s most ancient botanical gardens, created in 1545, and because of the 14th-century frescos by Giotto that are found in several buildings of the city, most notably the Scrovegni Chapel.
Visit the Romanesque Basilica of St. Anthony with its Byzantine-style domes and cloisters and the tomb of the saint.
Padua has Italy’s second oldest university, and as a result, a lively student community that loves to hang out in the many stylish cafes and bars in the old part of town by the river.
You might not have even heard of Vicenza, a Renaissance city located at the northern base of Monte Berico about 40 miles from Venice. Halfway between Venice and Verona, it is another ideal day trip destination. Renowned Renaissance architect Palladio has practically designed Vicenza and countless palaces and churches distributed all over the city. One of his last works is the Teatro Olimpico, the world’s oldest indoor theatre made from masonry.
Piazzas and small streets will charm you in Vicenza, though what will dazzle you most is the abundance of jewelry shops and ateliers. Jewelry making has been the most important industry in Vicenza since the Middle Ages. Feast your eyes on the jewelry museum and the works of art from one of the most important jewelers, Soprana. Have a coffee or cake in the lovely Piazza dei Signori and be happy that you added this gorgeous, idyllic little town to your collection of unknown or underappreciated Italian gems. Vicenza made it on our list of beautiful lesser-known towns to visit in Western Europe.
Planning a visit to Treviso brings you right into the prosecco region. The surrounding hills are where this so very Italian sparkling wine is cultivated, especially between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, and at a distance of just over 20 miles from Venice, it makes a great alternative to the lavish eateries of Venice. In keeping with the sparkling wine motive, there is even a replica of a 1559 statue of a woman who, on special occasions, spouts wine from her breasts, red from one and white from the other.
Treviso is also where the delicious Italian dessert tiramisu was invented in Ristorante Le Beccherie. Fashionistas may be interested to hear that Treviso is the home of the United Colors of Benetton.
Perhaps not as impressive as those of Venice, but no less idyllic, are the many canals that grace Treviso. You should not miss visiting the fish island where there is a huge fish market.
Treviso also has an airport, although it is mostly served by low-cost airlines. It also has an incredible winery that is worth traveling to visit.
Nestled in the hills of Treviso some 50 miles northwest of Venice lies the small medieval town of Asolo, a veritable open-air museum surrounded by massive city walls and dominated by a stern fortress. Many celebrities like Yoko Ono, Ernest Hemingway, and explorer and travel writer Freya Stark have deemed Asolo one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, so follow their footsteps and make the short trip from Venice.
Asolo is also romantically known as the “City of the 100 Horizons.” Apart from the amazing sights and if you are interested in antiquities, you should plan your visit to coincide with the second Sunday of any given month because an antique fair is held that day. Who knows what treasures you might find?
A trip to Rovigo takes you to the two majestic northern Italian rivers of Po and Adige close to the Adriatic. Located 50 miles southwest of Venice, Rovigo has a cathedral, the ruins of a 10th-century castle, and an obsession with rugby. For hunters of fashion at affordable prices, Rovigo is an insider tip because of the outlet of expensive fashion house Ivo Milan. Another curiosity: Rovigo has not one, but two leaning towers.
7. Jesolo And Lido Di Jesolo
We mustn’t forget Veneto and the Adriatic coast. Lido di Jesolo, just north of Venice and between Eraclea and Cavallino-Treporti, is one of the most popular and visited seaside resorts, especially in the summer. Miles of golden sand beaches border the sea with attractions like Aqualandia for kids. The small adjacent town of Jesolo is much quieter and invites strolls on the Piazza Mazzini, which are very comfortable because it is all flat. Shop along the tree and boutique-lined Via Bafile. If you are interested in military history, visit the Vidotto Military Museum.
If you like vibrant nightlife, Jesolo is a party town, so you can dance the night away if you wish.
You can hardly think of a bigger contrast than that between the river Po flats, the Adriatic, and the dramatic setting of Belluno amid the ragged eastern Dolomites. The city sits atop a cliff above the confluence of the rivers Ardo and Piave. Belluno is a romantic, quiet town with many baroque churches and two massive gates in the walls of the city. Also, admire one of the most beautiful baroque towers in Italy. The town is located 62 miles from Venice and can be reached by train, bus, or car.
9. Abano And Abano Terme
The benefits of hot springs and thermal waters in Veneto have been known and used since Roman times. One of the most beautiful and popular health resorts and spas is to be found in Abano and Abano Terme. You can easily combine your stay in Venice with serious pampering in Abano because the distance is just an hour either by train or road along the A4/E70 via Padua. You may even contemplate a stopover in Padua (see above).
Abano is a quiet resort surrounded by the Euganean Hills just south of Padua. It is an uncrowded resort, so you can go for a stroll around the gardens and parks, but the emphasis is on the use of thermal waters, spas, and treatments. Most of the elegant 5-star hotels with their thermal pools are located along the Viale delle Terme and allow the use of their spas even if you don’t spend the night, though you have to pay extra.
One of the best and most luxurious is Piscine Termali Leonardo da Vinci. Another interesting thing to do is to explore the history of the legendary Venetian mask by visiting the International Mask Museum.
10. Bassano del Grappa
Bassano del Grappa is one of the most charming small towns in Italy near Venice, perfect for a day trip. Facing the Alps and bathed by the Brenta River, this hidden gem rich in culture offers incredible views and unique experiences.
The geographical position of Bassano del Grappa is strategic for visiting this beautiful Prealpi region, but it is a charming Old Town that attracts tourists from all over the world. The city center develops around three main squares and surrounding pedestrian streets scattered with shops, bars, and historical architectural details.
The main attraction is the “Ponte Vecchio”, or the old bridge of Bassano, crossing the river Brenta and designed by Renaissance artist Andrea Palladio. Many shops and bars surround the bridge, including Nardini, Italy’s oldest distillery dating back to the 18th century and still serving its customers.
For visitors looking for some extra fine dining experience, with its curated interiors, Impronta Restaurant is probably the fanciest in town and a top-notch experience. This is a foodie city, with treats, street food, and fine dining delicacies, both traditional and experimental to be tasted at every corner. More importantly, there are virtually no tourist traps and the quality of food is generally high.
What Are the Closest Cities to Venice?
Padua, Bassano del Grappa, Treviso, Abano Terme, Montegrotto Terme, and Marostica are just a few of the many noteworthy nearby cities for a day trip from Venice. Each city offers an unforgettable immersion into diverse Italian experiences and natural beauty.
How Long to Spend in Italian Cities?
You’ll need at least two or three days in destinations such as Rome, Florence, Venice, and other cities. That won’t give you enough time to cover everything but it will allow you to explore some of the must-see attractions.
How to Get Around Italy in the Best Possible Way?
If you travel between major cities, it is best to take a train, while buses are better for visiting mountain towns and hilly inland areas. For more remote parts you’ll need a car. Major cities have decent public transport, though seeing their historic centers is best done on foot. Venice can be seen if you take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal or go on a boat trip in the Venetian lagoon.
Is Italy Expensive?
Italy isn’t cheap. Accommodation rates vary between places and seasons but prices are universally high in popular destinations. That said, you can still find deals if you book early and avoid peak periods.
Do I Have to Dress Up All the Time In Italy?
There’s no need for that. When sightseeing wear something comfortable, especially the shoes. However, major religious sights often require dress codes, so make sure you cover your shoulders, torso, and thighs. For going out in the evening, smart casual is the way to go.